Campaign to combat domestic violence under way

The ‘Who Can? You Can’ media campaign rolled out May 2 with a poster campaign, radio presence, and website, which features an online survey and a grand prize drawing.

Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa has partnered with the Kaua‘i Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force, providing two nights’ accommodations for the winner of the random drawing, to be held on Aug. 1, a news release states.

The twin goals of the campaign are: 1. to raise awareness on Kaua‘i about a challenging social issue, public health issue, and human rights issue: domestic violence, and 2. to empower community members to step up to help prevent family abuse and its devastating consequences.

The campaign drew inspiration from two other successful media campaigns that challenged common attitudes and beliefs about smoking and bullying.

Task Force coordinator Linda Pizzitola was working in the field of smoking cessation in California in the 1990s when a massive anti-tobacco media campaign was launched, funded with tobacco settlement money.

“I watched smoking become ‘uncool’ in California right before my eyes,” Pizzitola said in the release.

In 2009, the Hawai‘i Department of Health took on the bullying issue as a priority, focusing on neither the bully nor the victim, but on the ‘bystanders,’ empowering them to bridge the gap between what they believe is right and what they actually say or do in a bullying situation, the release states.

Then last year, Kaua‘i Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force member Lana Olson learned that fewer than 10 percent of those caught up in domestic violence ever get professional help, and that law enforcement and medical personnel see only the tip of the DV iceberg.

Olson saw those statistics as a mandate to the real first-responders — the friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and faith communities of those caught up in the dynamics of abuse — to get educated and step up to the plate.

The online survey lists action steps community members may already be taking in their homes and intimate partnerships, in their neighborhoods and workplaces, and in the larger community, to promote safety and aloha for Kaua‘i’s families. Participants can identify any positive actions they have taken in the previous two weeks, then repeat the survey (and re-enter the drawing) every two weeks.

Paper versions of the survey are available at all six public libraries on Kaua‘i for those without internet access.

Packets of five ‘Who Can? You Can’ posters, featuring Kaua‘i leaders as spokespersons, are making their way across the island.

“Ideally, the posters folks put on display will be rotated every couple of weeks over the three month campaign,” says Pizzitola, “and also shared with others to maximize exposure. A site can display one or two posters, or the whole set.”

Smaller printer-friendly versions of the poster can be downloaded from the website, along with a sheet of tips and resources for addressing domestic violence.

Visit www.whocanyoucan.org for details.

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